First In India, Fourth In The World: Mumbai's Climate Budget — Explained

V Bhagya Subhashini

Jun 07, 2024, 01:31 PM | Updated 01:31 PM IST

Mumbai is home to the world’s largest tropical forest in any urban zone. (Getty Images)
Mumbai is home to the world’s largest tropical forest in any urban zone. (Getty Images)

Mumbai is taking a groundbreaking step towards a greener future with the launch of its first-ever climate budget, also known as the Green Budget Book.

Recently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) unveiled its first-ever Climate Budget Report for the fiscal year 2024-25. This initiative earmarks Rs 10,224.24 crore, or 32.18 per cent of the total Rs 31,774.59 crore capital expenditure, for addressing climate issues.

With this, Mumbai has become the first city in the country and fourth in the world (along with Oslo, London and New York) to launch a climate budget.

What Is Climate Budgeting?

Traditionally, city budgets haven't explicitly considered climate change when allocating resources. A climate budget changes this paradigm. It's a financial roadmap that integrates climate action into all aspects of city planning and spending.

Climate budgeting process also ensures accountability, transparency and clarity of how the city is taking climate action seriously and calling on state or national governments to collaborate with them.

Why Mumbai Needs Climate Budgeting?

India, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, ranks among the top 10 countries most threatened by climate impacts. Among Indian cities, Mumbai stands out as one of the most vulnerable due to its geographical location and dense population.

In 2020 alone, floods and storms affected around 50 million individuals, claiming the lives of over 5,000 people. Moreover, even a minor rise in the global mean sea level, just 0.15 metres above 2020 levels, could increase Mumbai's vulnerability to extreme flooding by 20 per cent. Such flooding events, typically occurring once in a century, could become more frequent.

Mumbai faces the additional challenge of an erratic monsoon pattern, characterised by increasingly frequent short-duration, high-intensity rainfall events. In 2019, the city witnessed a surge in cyclone activity, causing significant disruptions to people's lives and livelihoods.

Additionally, the rising sea levels from global warming may endanger the city's coastal regions. Extreme weather events like heatwaves and flooding threaten lives and also infrastructure. Also, urban heat island effect exacerbates public health risks.

Since 1973, Mumbai’s temperatures have risen by 0.25°C per decade, with around 200 days annually now classified as ‘extreme caution events.’ Factors such as dense settlements, low vegetation cover, and reflective building materials worsen climate risk for the city residents.

What Climate Action Is Mumbai Already Taking? 

Mumbai is home to the world’s largest tropical forest in any urban zone. The municipal authority has prioritised preserving and expanding urban nature in Mumbai to protect biodiversity, mitigate the effects of the climate crisis and help adapt to its impacts.

Mumbai is also actively addressing climate change by transitioning to clean mobility, and implementing sustainable solid waste management practices.

Mumbai's Climate Action Plan 2022

The climate budget is a part of the broader Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP), which was launched in March 2022. The MCAP outlines a roadmap to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050. Interim targets include a 30 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and 44 per cent by 2040. Without action, emissions are projected to increase by 170 per cent between 2019 and 2050.

The MCAP's pathway scenario exercise provides evidence-based targets for reducing emissions in the energy, transport, and waste sectors.

Key Components Of The Mumbai's Climate Budget 2024

Minesh Pimpale, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Environment and Climate Change), outlined the budget's objectives: ensuring projects are environmentally friendly and prioritising works accordingly to combat the rising temperatures in Mumbai.

The largest share of the climate budget is allocated to urban flood and water resource management. This includes rainwater channels, sewage projects, sewage operations, Mumbai sewerage projects, water supply projects, and sanitation activities in solid waste management.

The BMC is also focusing on climate initiatives that include developing gardens and promoting projects such as renewable hybrid energy and waste-to-energy plans. Implementation and tracking of these initiatives will be distributed across various departments.

Mumbai is leading the way and showing how political commitment can result in an ambitious yet achievable plan and transformative climate action that will inspire other cities in the region, and worldwide.

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

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